Series looking at Britain's traditional markets. A spotlight on the Welsh Cob Autumn Sale at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.
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We may live in a digital age...
..but a surprising amount of British trade is still done the
..at traditional auctions.
Now is your time to get a bargain.
These sales may feel like throwbacks to a bygone age...
..but for the buyers and sellers who flock to them,
they're still the best way to conduct business.
At 1,600, blow your nose and bid again.
We'll be visiting the UK's most dynamic traditional markets...
..selling everything from pigs to cattle,
sheep dogs to ponies...
..fish to veg,
and discovering how they are the heartbeat of rural life.
There'll be bargains to be had today.
-That's part of being at an auction.
Today, we're in Wales at the UK's biggest annual auction
of Welsh Cobs, a British horse breed with international appeal.
We'll be meeting the auctioneers in the hot seat...
Stand this lovely filly up and appreciate everything about her gorgeousness.
This is an annual pilgrimage for thousands of people.
..and following the fortunes of three buyers and sellers...
I'll walk down with him. Hello!
How are you?
You meet lots of people you haven't seen from all over the country and abroad.
..as they experience all the excitement...
Go behind... Behind you!
..as the hammer falls.
We're in Builth Wells in mid Wales,
a little town of about 3,000 people in the beautiful Powys hills.
Next to town is the huge Royal Welsh Showground
which once a year hosts a unique event, the Welsh Cob Autumn Sale.
It's the biggest event of its kind anywhere in the world,
attracting national and international buyers.
For somebody as enthusiastic as me about horses, this is like paradise.
This is the best holiday. I've gone to Disney World and back!
Everywhere you look, there's quality.
Come on, then. Out we go.
You can just feel people a bit excited at the beginning of the
day, so, people...
Seeing some lovely horses.
Over the next three days, more than 400 horses will be up for sale
ranging in price from £100 to £10,000.
I just want to come and say hello to you all.
Such a huge event needs a whole team of auctioneers to run it.
Any more? He's here to sell.
Like Nick Gorst,
a veteran auctioneer with over 25 years' experience selling here.
It's always one you just look forward to because the people are
very friendly and there's a great atmosphere.
On the right at 1,100.
Andrew Elliott is a 20-year veteran of this famous auction.
I don't think you will see any auction,
no matter what is being sold,
with such a large audience of enthusiasts.
You could call Frank Morgan the Godfather.
He's been selling here for over 30 years.
When it all goes right and a good horse comes in the ring
and makes a lot of money, then it's worth it.
It's all part of the buzz.
There we are, tremendous future...
And the youngest of the four is Greg Christopher.
People there from all over the world and throughout the UK.
It's just a huge sale.
I'm on duty for you today, OK.
He looks a very smart sort, you must be very pleased.
You want your vendors to be happy.
You want your purchasers to be happy as well.
You want everyone to go home singing, you've done them a good job
from both sides because you want them to come again.
So it's most important to keep everyone as happy as they possibly can be.
It's the opening day and the arena is packed with over 2,500 people -
a capacity crowd that brings
much-needed revenue to the local economy.
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Brightwells, the warmest, the very,
very warmest of welcomes to this, the 54th annual Autumn Cob Sale,
here on the good showground at the Royal Welsh.
Here is a lovely young male to open proceedings now.
On we go, look at him go. Got all the right attributes, hasn't he?
The Welsh Cob will do basically any job.
The list is endless, their strengths are endless.
There are a very, very special breed.
Sellers show their horses by running or riding them round the ring so
bidders can see how they move.
There we are, the colour and the breed, tremendous future.
What a filly, what a filly.
We've got one person who just wants a horse to go in the back garden and
doesn't really mind how it's bred or what it does or what it looks like.
You've got some people who will buy 20 or 30 horses for various clients
and also you've got the breeders that are looking for the bloodlines
and trying to select some horses that will bring them success
in the show ring and future sales.
Lily, here you are, love.
One of Britain's top Welsh Cob breeders, Julie Evans,
is unloading her horses for the auction.
OK, you all right?
With many years' experience, Julie is one of the best in the
business, so there's a lot at stake for her at this prestigious sale.
Steady. Looking forward to the sale.
I'm feeling all right. You get a bit nervous.
I hope people like what I'm breeding, mainly.
I hope people like what I bring,
and that gives you a lot of satisfaction as a breeder.
Julie's farm is nearly 60 miles from the auction.
Quality breeding has always been in her blood.
Lil? You wouldn't take him up in the stable for me, would you?
Hurry up, love, because the tractor's coming.
You're fitter than me!
Her parents bred shire horses and she caught the bug when she was very young.
I come from a horse family.
I love the horses, I've always loved horses.
-All right, then.
-I prefer this one.
OK, I get the naughty one!
I like getting the horses ready for shows and even the mucking out
and all the horrible jobs, I don't mind.
Quiet, aren't you? Nice boy.
Julie took the family passion one step further and is now a serious
competitor on the horse show circuit as well as an acclaimed breeder.
These are the prizes we have won this year at the different shows.
We have travelled quite a bit up and down the country this year.
I think I've done about seven or eight shows, something like that, this year.
It's quite hard work, but it's very important doing the shows.
That's what we've done this year.
And Julie's showing career has been stellar,
at the very highest level.
Congratulations to number 1470.
She's entered winners at the Royal Welsh,
the most prestigious horse show in the country.
I've won two gold medals, one with my stallion, Fronarth Victor,
and the other one with his daughter, Haighmoor Glain.
Not bad for a little breeder, yeah, not bad.
I was just so thrilled because to win the Royal Welsh with something
you've bred yourself is just the ultimate thing to do.
But this year it looks like Julie's going one better.
I've had a big honour this year.
I've been asked to judge the Royal Welsh Show next year.
Years ago when I was young, I always thought, to win the Royal Welsh was
my ambition and then as for judging it, well...
It's a bit of... It's a bit of a shock!
You're putting that on now. That's good.
Being chosen to be a judge at the prestigious Royal Welsh Show puts
Julie in the spotlight.
All eyes will be on her and her horses at the auction...
-You calmed down, Mrs?
-..making success even more important if she's
to maintain her reputation and her thriving stables.
Hopefully if somebody buys them, they can go on to homes and they can be shown.
At the end of the day, I do it because I love the horses and I like competing.
So I don't just do it for the finance.
She plans to sell four horses at auction,
all from a championship-winning bloodline.
But the horse Julie thinks will be the most impressive is Sparc.
We've had a lot of success showing this horse this year,
we've been really pleased with him.
He's got a really nice temperament. He's just a sweet boy, aren't you?
Nice boy. We hope you get a nice home, don't we?
Successful sales will cement Julie's reputation and the good name of her stables.
But poor results could do her good name some damage, so there's a
lot at stake.
The standard's very high nowadays.
You've really got to try your hardest and breed the best you can.
Just slowly with him.
Can I have a feel of her leg?
Is that all right? Can I give you that? Hello, sweetheart.
Knowing that the very best of the horse world are gathered at the
Autumn Welsh Cob Sale,
Julie is busy making sure her first two horses are in perfect condition
for the auction.
Just got to get them prepared now,
get them cleaned up after the journey and then
just hang around, really, and just hope somebody comes and looks.
Just getting them settled down now, they're just a bit nervous.
He's been to shows before but she's never been away from home.
I've got my two good grooms.
Everybody will be busy now getting the ponies ready.
Auctioneer Nick will be overseeing Julie's sale and knows that in
breeding, reputation is everything.
At two bid, three. 300, four.
Julie is somebody that's quite typical of one of the premier
breeders in the Welsh Cob business.
Julie has been in it a long time.
Great show person, which you have to be, because it's as much
this business, the show arena, as it is the sale.
-Are you looking for a filly?
Yeah. She's out of the same mare as Glain that won the Royal Welsh.
This one is, yeah.
Sister to Glain, yeah.
-Yeah, she is. Different dad.
Julie's stock is attracting a lot of attention and she wastes no time
making sure people know all about their excellent bloodline.
She's very much like her mother, isn't she?
She's a lovely mover, really has got the spring, this one has.
With her reputation at stake, Julie needs this sale to go well.
How are the nerves?
Well, I'm not too bad at the moment.
It's Magical Lady's first time away from the farm, so Julie has helpers,
Lily and Dav, to run the horse in the ring and make sure she isn't
thrown by the unfamiliar environment.
You want it running on a long lead because she's never been held tight
and run behind her, get the whip behind her.
Run her on a long rope, she's not used to being held tight.
This is Mrs Julie Evans...
It's Julie's big moment.
Auctioneer Nick is ready to start and Magical Lady is up first.
Julie's hoping to make around £1,300 with this sale
so the horse needs to rise to the challenge and stay calm.
I'm sure you've all had a look at this.
I think in the auctioneer's eye, after doing it for nearly 30 years,
you get a sort of instant feeling when you see something that's going
to make some money and looks the right type.
I could see there is a bit of quality here.
Right, start me off, you're going to treat me well now, I hope.
Real quality, look at the breeding, Trevallion and Brinithon.
1,000 away, surely...
Despite Magical Lady's good breeding, her price starts off very low.
At 500 only.
At 600 the bottom row, at seven on the stand...
But Nick manages to drive the price up.
In all the excitement,
Julie ends up intervening a little more than a breeder normally would.
Go behind her. Behind. Back here.
Julie's managed to get her team to settle Magical Lady and her quality
breeding is beginning to shine through.
At 17, have 18, at 1,700.
1,800. 1,800. One way to go.
19 I'll take. At 1,800, 1,900.
It looks like Julie's hard work is paying off
as the bidding keeps climbing.
Keep going, at 2,500, 2,500, 2,500, where are you?
Six bid. At 26.
Nick is really building the bids.
Seven, 27, 27.
You're doing a good job.
Sit down, I'm just missing a bidder.
After we got over 2,000, she started running round the ring
which was a good indication that she was enjoying herself!
Sold at 2,700.
Thank you very much.
We've got another one yet, haven't we?
The sale was an impressive piece of auctioneering and a great result for
Julie, more than twice the price she'd hoped for.
Magical Lady, over the moon with that.
We'd hoped, you hope for sort of 12,
£1,500 for the filly, so she made a lot more than what we expected.
At 500, bid 500. 500, 500.
But there's little time for Julie to bask in the glory
as her second Cob foal, Johnny, is up next.
Sold then at 600.
And he fetches a solid £600 which, although less than the filly,
is still good news for Julie.
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you, Julie, all the best to you.
Good stock as ever.
You can make £500, £1,000 or £2,000.
I've sold foals for as little as £200 and I've sold mares for £7,000.
It varies, you just don't always know, you know.
So far Julie's auction has been a rip-roaring success and a true
testament to her reputation as a top breeder.
And with two more horses to go,
there's still plenty more action to come in the ring.
The Welsh Cob Autumn Sale hasn't always been on this incredible scale.
At 1,900, don't stop, look at the filly.
Veteran auctioneer, Frank Morgan, remembers its humble beginnings on a
farm in Llanarth in rural Wales.
I think the first Llanarth sale I went to was about 1974.
It was in a farm in West Wales and it became so popular that the
facilities just wouldn't stand it.
So we moved the overflow here.
The sale's been held here at the Royal Welsh Showground for over 30 years
with Frank as a key auctioneer from the beginning.
One change he's seen over the years is a big increase in foreign sales.
There'll be quite a number of horses that will be sold to go abroad.
The majority of those will go to Europe, but we have had them go to
America, Australia and some parts of Africa.
We've spread as far as Japan, so we're going all round the world.
But the sheer scale of the auction presents huge challenges for auctioneers.
With a crowd this big, how do you keep track of who's bidding?
The more occasional buyers generally make themselves more well-known than
the very professional buyers and the very professional buyers literally
might just move a cheek muscle in some way.
Yes, you've got to be tuned in.
We've got two men in the ring just spotting bids.
They play a good role because they're seeing part of the crowd
where, at certain times, I'm not looking at and they also add
to the atmosphere and the excitement when you've got a high-priced horse
coming in the ring.
Well done, madam. 1063.
At 520, 520...
There's a good boy. Oh, he's good.
One man who knows every trick in the book when it comes to bidding is
buyer, Alan Pearce.
He's one of the biggest Welsh Cob agents in the UK,
buying horses on behalf of his many international clients.
I have to buy on instructions and sometimes it's something I wouldn't buy
for myself but, as the saying goes, the customer's always right.
I hope that the lorry will be full.
It's built to carry 12 horses and perhaps another vehicle as well.
Alan lives in West Wales, 50 miles from the auction.
He sources nearly 300 horses a year for his clients and transports them
to Europe. Before they leave, Alan keeps them here in his stables.
We can have up to 40 plus here and we have another holding that we
will have in reserve should we need the extra stables.
Good boy. Good boy.
What started off as a hobby has now become a very profitable business.
With the auction looming,
Alan is inundated with calls from his customers.
What number was it?
Do you have any idea what you want to pay for it?
With such a huge demand on the Continent for Welsh Cobs,
Alan makes his money by transporting the horses he buys at auction.
Is that the maximum price now?
Because you know what the auctioneers are like, they can jump a bid.
If they jump a bid, we have to go with it.
That means he needs to have a good sale if he wants to get paid.
We don't charge commission for buying the animals.
The money purely comes from the transport.
The more transport that we have, the more money we have.
So it's a door-to-door service for them.
The auction is one of his busiest business times and he has three days
to buy around 30 of the finest Welsh Cobs.
This year he has a lot of clients expecting him to deliver,
which could make or break his annual profits.
This Autumn Sale we have got horses going to France, Holland, Belgium,
I suppose you could be talking...
..in 30 horses, £30,000.
This auction is crucial for Alan to secure the Cobs he needs to keep his
-Hello. She's got a nice head on her, hasn't she?
Back at the auction, Alan is yet to buy and with 30 horses on order
from his European clients, he'd better get bidding.
I can't tell you what I'm going to end up with, but I've got lots of
lot numbers to look at. I've got a list here, sent to me by a customer,
and those are lot numbers that that customer is interested in.
I don't anticipate they'll buy all of those, but that's one customer.
It isn't just a case of wandering into an auction and spending someone
else's money. Alan is in constant contact with his European customers.
You'll have to say quickly.
-350, at 350.
You'll have to tell me something, say something! Yes or no?
Most of the continent people haven't been to auctions because
they don't sell their animals that way out there and then they want to
hear it all going on, on the phone
and you're trying to express to them,
"Come on, quickly, do you want to bid again?"
And they think, "What shall I do?
"Do I have a cup of coffee and think about it?"
And it's too late, this sale's over.
Leave it? OK.
The auction is getting off to a slow start and for Alan, the complications
keep coming when two clients want the same horse.
I have somebody else interested in it and they've already said they
will pay £1,000 so you would have to pay more than £1,000.
I'd another client from Germany interested in the same lot and I
explained to them that we already have a bid of 1,000 for it,
so she has to think higher than that and she doesn't want to think
higher than that.
I've got most probably six or seven prospective buyers, but they're
living in the past at the moment, they're living on last year's prices
so I'm trying to gee them up a bit.
It's been a frustrating morning for the big agent,
thwarted at every turn.
To avoid a disappointed clientele,
he'll need to start buying, and fast.
That's a mare, is it?
That was a three-year-old.
It's time for seller, Julie Evans, to go in the ring again.
The sale isn't just important for her business,
it's about maintaining her top reputation as a leading Cob breeder.
I've got a good groom!
The yearling colt is very nice.
We've had a lot of success with him this year in the show
and the filly, I think, is one of the nicest ones I've brought here
for a while, so I'm quite happy with how my horses look, so you've just got to go with the flow,
haven't you? Just hope somebody wants them.
What do you think, Dafydd?
Make 3,000 and let her go?
After a successful first day, Julie has two more horses up for
sale and decides to put reserves on them
that reflect the quality she's breeding.
For show-winning Sparc, that means a £3,000 price tag.
You've got to hand that in now before they sell them.
Just cross us fingers now and hope for the best.
But that might be a tall order as Julie senses something potentially
worrying for sales.
It's gone quiet now.
It's gone quiet now, I'm not quite sure what the trade's like.
It's been a long auction with lots of horses sold,
and the crowd has lost focus.
Julia's hoping her award-winning Sparc can get the remaining bidders excited.
Auctioneer Greg understands how important a good crowd is.
What an outstanding cob, quality written all over, there we are.
All the breeder behind it, 3,000, 2.5, 2,000 away.
2,000, 1,500, 1,000 go.
1,000 away to go.
1,000 away, eight time, bid at eight.
800 a bid, nine bid, nine.
1,000, bid 1,000, 1,000...
Despite the distracted crowd, bidding gets off to a brisk start.
15, bid 15.
15 bid, 15, bid 15.
But it stalls at £1,500.
1,500, what an opportunity, I can't stress it enough.
At 1,500, I'm bid at 15.
15, bid 16...
In spite of auctioneer Greg's best efforts,
the crowd is reluctant to go much higher.
15, bid, at 1,800, a bid, last chance and away at 1,800.
At £,1,800, it's a no sale.
Julie's experienced enough to know that sometimes,
even the very best horses don't get the prices they deserve.
We wanted a little bit more for him.
We'd rather keep him a bit longer, break him in.
There's nothing more you'd want than having a good atmosphere when you're
selling horses or anything.
You know, you want a responsive crowd that enjoy themselves and are
there to spend money. And vendors will come in and they'll think
they've had a lot of interest in their horse and it doesn't always happen.
Her horse, Seren Air is up next and she's the last chance for Julie
to show off her hard work and make some money for her stables.
13, bid 13, 1,400, 1,400 a bid, 14.
15, bid 15. 16, bid
16. 16, bid 16, bid 16.
17. 17 bid, 17 bid, 17 bid. 18. 1,800 bid all the way now...
Even after a promising start, the bidding once again stalls.
2,000, bid, 2,000. 2,000 I'm bid, 2,000.
At 2,000, the last look round and away, at £2,000.
No, OK, thank you very much.
And Julie decides not to sell.
Have you found the trainer, Dafydd?
Business in the auction ring can be a lottery at times,
even for the sellers at the top of their game.
I'm like a pack horse!
But pros like Julie understand this.
And after two good sales on the first day,
she knows her reputation remains intact and she can still have
success with the horses she's taking home.
I'm not disappointed they're coming home. You bring them to sell, obviously,
but sometimes the trade is good and sometimes it's not so good.
It's not the end of the world. There will be another day for them.
And basically, yeah,
I'll have more time to spend with them and bring them back,
perhaps especially Sparc, the colt,
perhaps I'll bring him back under saddle,
break him to ride.
It looks like Julie will be back at the sales again
next year with more world-class horses to show.
Welsh cobs have been around for at least 1,000 years and they've proved
an incredibly enduring and popular British breed.
Back in the day, they were the nation's workhorses.
Now, they're international favourites for eventing,
showing and riding.
They're a very genuine breed, a great performing breed.
They stride well, they put on a tremendous display.
You can ride them.
The predominant thing, I suppose, is showing.
They're bred as show animals,
they're very sort of extravagant in their action,
in their sort of locomotion.
Unusual colour. Have you seen it, Jo?
-Yeah, I like that.
-Push it back.
Go on, a bit more.
Back at the auction, seller, Rob Manchip, has an emotional sale
ahead of him.
The auction marks the start of his plans to retire from breeding and
significantly reduce the size of his stables.
I'm always nervous or worried.
Until the hammer comes down and we know whether we've A, sold and
B, how much, it's always an anxious time.
This third-generation farmer lives in Cowbridge, around 65 miles away,
and horses have always been a part of his life.
I could almost ride a horse, possibly before I could even walk.
My grandfather was called Pop Hayman and Pop Hayman loved carriage driving.
He would drive 15-20 miles to the pub,
have an evening out and then drive another 20 miles back home.
Come on, girl.
Since 1978, Rob has built up one of the most successful stud farms in the country.
Come on, quiet now.
We've got 25 horses now and they're all Welsh Cobs.
And they've been line bred down for two or three generations.
This one is Mercedes.
I owned her mother and her grandmother,
and we've now got her children here as well,
so she is the third of four generations on the farm.
And been a very good mare for us, this one.
We were turned... A lot of people know this mare worldwide
and they think she's a perfect example of a Welsh Cob.
Rob's breeding business has been a huge success,
but the time demands have become too much and he now wants to retire.
I leave home every morning at 6 o'clock to go and feed
and by the time I go to work and come back home again,
and feed again, it's usually after 8 o'clock in the evening.
I think I want a few less hours of working in the daytime now.
I just want to get it back and under control,
and spend more time at leisure with my wife.
A quieter life means Rob needs to downsize, but it's not going to be easy.
It's very, very difficult and it will be a sad moment
as the hammer comes down.
I'm now 67 going on 68.
I've done this since I was 29 and I think it's time that I stood down
now and let other people have a go and hopefully use the bloodlines
that I've spent a lifetime building up,
to start off some new studs and wish them all the success with the hard
work I've put in for the last 35 years.
Rob will be selling four horses at the auction
including Queen of Hearts.
We think she's a very good example of the breed.
We have to get her looking her really best.
We treat the Welsh Cob sales exactly as if they were going to the
Royal Welsh Show.
We want to turn them out with their best presentation to
catch the eye of the buyers and show the horses at their best potential.
-Get it on her kneecap.
-Get it on her knee.
For Rob, this is the end of an era as he begins to step away from
breeding and downsize his stables.
Success at the auction will be crucial for Rob
being able to realise his dream.
1,900, at 1,900. At 1,900.
Good, deep chest.
-Not too high.
-Nice short back.
Back at the auction, the buyers are casting their expert eye over what's on sale.
So watch her movement, you want to watch that she's straight, OK?
So that's her left-hand leg.
Slightly turned out, see it?
To get a good price, Rob's horses are going to have to look their very best.
She settled her down nicely?
Yeah, yeah. She's calmer now.
You're the only one that can keep her calm.
I know, I know!
This one here is Annie, and that's Autumn Leaf.
These are half sisters, hoping they'll both do well today.
As you can see, they're half sisters
and they're very friendly with each other.
But again, the next couple of hours will tell.
Rob is anxious for a good auction, selling all four horses so he can
downsize and get his retirement plan heading in the right direction.
It's getting very tense at the stables now.
We've had very few people in and looking and commenting,
so it's just a tense moment now over the next half an hour,
it really is time to be biting the fingernails and hoping we get a good result.
Right, thank you, on we go.
With downsizing the agenda...
..selling quickly is the priority.
-280, I'm bid, at 280. 280, 280, a lovely filly in the ring.
Sold at 280.
Diana, his first, sells for £280.
And Danny, his second, goes for the same.
I would've liked a little bit better prices, but we're getting there.
Third up is Autumn Leaf...
This is my favourite one, this is.
This is his favourite, there we are, Autumn Leaf as well,
you can see why, very smart filly. 1,000 away.
1,000 away to go, 800, 500, 300 away.
Two bid. 200, a bid at 200, 250, 250, three.
..who sells for more at £500.
Last call at 500.
575, Queen of Hearts this time...
Last up is the four-year-old mare, Queen of Hearts.
She's a great example of Rob's meticulous breeding.
He needs her to sell and wants a good price to make all his efforts worthwhile.
Ready to be taken on to be broken and ride or drive.
He puts on a reserve of £1,000.
There we are, 1,500, 1000, away to go. 1,000 for the mare now.
But as the bidding begins, the starting price plummets.
300, 300 a bid, 300 a bid, 50, four, four, bid 50, 450, 500.
500, 50, 550, 600.
Queen of Hearts keeps working the ring, though,
and the buyers start to bite.
850, nine, 900, nine, 950, 950 up we go, sir.
950, 950, 950, 1,000.
-1,100, 1,150. 1,150. 1,150. 1,150, 1,150, 1,150.
1,150, 1,150, 12. 12 and 12, 1,200, a bid, 50, 1,250,
13, bid 1,300.
1,300, a bid 13, bid 13.
Bid 13, another 50.
On the tower and sold.
14 in the gods.
1,400, a bid 14, a bid 1,450, 1,450, 1,450, 1,500 a bid.
Sold at 1,500, sold at 1,500.
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you very much, thank you.
Thanks a lot, guys. Thank you.
Well done, Simon.
Her true class has shone through and she's done Rob proud.
He hoped for £1,000 and he got £1,500.
I'm very pleased with that, very pleased.
So, all four sold, so empty trailers going home.
It's always anxious and when they start off very low like she did, at 300,
you think, "Where's it going to get to?"
But, yeah, made the money that we wanted.
So very pleased. When are you coming down for the weekend?
Get the old man down as well?
With all four horses sold,
Rob is one step closer to his retirement dream.
I think we're going to have to downsize a little bit more.
I think we've still got a few more to go, will be down to under the 20
mark now, but I want to get down to sort of 12-15.
So, yes, we'll be sorting some more out.
I certainly will not be attempting to expand again.
Since 1978, I've had some tremendous years out of it,
it's time to slow down, take stock and retire.
And that is on the schedule,
but how quickly that will come, I don't know.
I think we'll always have a few,
but a few less than what we've got now.
-What are you doing in there?
-Got to be quick.
Big-time buyer Alan didn't have much success at the first day of the
sales, so now he's working round the clock to fill his quota of buying 30
horses on behalf of his European clients.
This is sold, it's just sold now.
You were too late.
Alan needs to meet his targets, otherwise his business could suffer.
But over the last few hours, his luck has improved.
I've bought two foals for a customer in Germany.
And I've bought a black mare for another customer in Germany.
They're all going to Germany, actually.
I've bought another black foal for another customer in Germany.
With several horses already under his belt,
it seems Alan could be on a roll.
But keeping his clients happy and having the budget to back it up is
just half of Alan's job.
In an auction, anything can happen.
And he has to know how to play the game, which for auctioneers,
is to push the prices up to please the sellers.
They've got a job to do, we've got a job to do.
I suppose it's a cat and mouse game sometimes, where...
..they will suss out what our limits of paying on certain animals are and
they'll take us to that whether they've got a bid or not.
Look at that, there we are, standing done, yearling filly.
Alan has his eye on a horse that he thinks a client will like.
With a budget of £1,000, things are looking good as bidding starts low.
Two, three, four.
In the centre at 400.
At five, bid five, bid five, 600.
At 600, yes, 700, someone.
700, 700, 800.
800. 800 a bid.
It looks like Alan might be onto a winner,
as the bid stands at £200 under budget.
At 800, 800, 800.
I hope he knocks it down quickly!
At 800 a bid, 50.
850. Eight, 900. 900.
But the bidding starts up again.
1,000, bid 1,000. 1,000, bid 1,000, come on now, bid 1,000.
1,050, 1,050. 1,050.
In the blink of an eye,
Alan has gone from £200 under budget to £50 over budget.
Hammer's up, last chance.
Last call, 1,050.
He's bought the Cob for £1,050.
A little bit over the top for me, but I took a chance,
I hope the client's happy.
When it gets so close as that, we're talking £50.
If it was £500, it's easier to make the decision, but £50,
I think we can negotiate within that.
The next horse, Sahara, has a top German customer of Alan's
very interested due to its good bloodline.
We have an estimated price of £1,000 we can go to.
So, hopefully, he comes under that,
we might stretch a bit more if we've got to.
500, 300, 300, 300, 200.
Bidding starts low and Alan is having second thoughts.
I don't know if the colour's correct for this lady, so I'm going to hang
-back a minute.
But when the bidding stalls at £400, Alan takes a chance.
400, a bid 450. 450, 450.
Auctioneer, Greg, is taking his time.
450, 450, 450.
Come on, boys, knock it down.
It's a victory for Alan.
He's got the horse for £550 less than his German client's budget.
She'll be happy.
It was way under the price she was expecting to pay.
By the end of the auction, Alan has managed to buy 27 horses
and it's a huge success for his business.
He's met the needs of his continental clients,
and now can make his profit by charging to deliver these
world-class horses directly to their doors.
It's been a really successful weekend and hopefully all the
clients will be happy.
The journey home from here, we live approximately 60 miles away.
It's not the best of roads, so it's going to take us
a good hour and a half.
We have to go slower with horses
because of the terrain we travel through.
And when we get home, the rest of the work starts -
taking them away from the lorry, stabling them, feeding them,
making sure everything is OK, and settling them down for the night
because they're strange to us and strange to the place.
Three days, 359 horses and £381,000 later,
the auction is finally over.
Well, I haven't got laryngitis yet.
Voice has held up to it perfectly well, we've had a very good trade,
everybody seemed very happy with the quality of the stuff on offer generally.
And it all came together very well.
On Rob's farm, some more thinning is still needed before retirement
can really get into full swing.
Julie went on to sell Sparc a week after the auction to private buyers.
And Alan has now delivered all the horses he bought at Builth.
Four to France, nine to Holland and 14 to Germany.
In beautiful mid Wales, the Royal Welsh Showground hosts a unique annual event: the Welsh Cob Autumn Sale. Four hundred horses go under the hammer over three days, with prices ranging from £100 to £10,000. There's no event like it anywhere else in the world.
Welsh cobs are among Britain's most popular horse breeds, with a passionate international following too. For seller Julie Evans, there's a lot at stake. She's one of the UK's top Welsh cob breeders, and a former winner at the prestigious Royal Welsh Show. So, many eyes will be on the four horses she's brought to sell. Buyer Alan Scales has a lot riding on the auction too. He's one of the biggest Welsh cob agents in Britain, buying hundreds of horses a year on behalf of his many international clients. He needs to purchase 30 or so Welsh cobs over the next three days to satisfy clients in France, Holland and Germany. Seller Rob Manchip has different priorities. After 40 years as a renowned Welsh cob breeder, he's approaching retirement age and wants to downsize. He has four horses to sell, and hopes to find excellent homes for them all.